Laborfest held in Racine -- one of cities with highest unemployment

RACINE -- The annual Laborfest celebration was held Monday, September 3rd in Racine -- one of Wisconsin's cities with the highest unemployment rate.

Pro-union members, supporters and families gathered at Franksville Park in the Village of Caledonia. There was plenty to eat, drink and talk about!

On Labor Day, First Choice Employment Specialist Nicole Hunt spent time promoting a way to get people into the workforce.

"We do six weeks of training. We take individuals that are interested in getting into the building trades and give them entry-level skills and help them with job placement," Hunt said.

Erin Dailey is seeking full-time employment in the teaching profession. She says Labor Day is a time to reflect on the labor movement.

"Celebrate the fact that we worked really hard to get what we kinda take advantage of a little bit -- like a 40-hour work week and just our rights as a lunch hour break and all this other stuff that we've worked really hard for," Dailey said.

Steve Raclaw said he feels he's benefited from union efforts as a firefighter.

"In my profession in being a firefighter, I feel that I earn the wage and benefits I earn because that's what people before me negotiated," Raclaw said.

Wisconsin state Representative Cory Mason told the gathering there is always something to fight for, and the struggle continues.

"I know growing up in Racine that unions built the middle class in this community, and I think that we're going to see, pretty quickly here, as collective bargaining rights disappear from public sector workers -- I think the public is going to be reminded just how important those rights are," Mason said.

Organizers say the gathering is meant to honor the working class men and women who they say are the backbone to the community.